Apologies for my slackness with updating this thing- I'll try and do better in future!
Anyway, here we go. Since my last post, I've had to do a fair bit of work but I've managed to get in quite a lot of exploring too. There's lots of waterfalls and forested areas right near the apartment- its surprisingly easy to get away from it all considering Taiwan packs 23 million people into an area smaller than Canterbury! One scooter trip took us through a beautiful bush-covered pass that reminded me of Motueka; to a quintessential Taiwanese village called Pingxi, which despite its tourist savvy, felt pretty authentic.
The people are extremely friendly and helpful - its not unusual to have a veritable flock of locals pooling their knowledge in an attempt to decipher our rantings when we ask one of them for help. I say we, but Jess and Des can actually communicate pretty well using basic Chinese- mine currently extends to 'thank you', 'excuse me' and a few numbers. I do intend to learn though.
We've also spent a bit of time exploring Taipei- its pretty impressive. Taipei 101- all of half a kilometre high- is still the worlds tallest completed building (the as-yet unfinished Burj Dubai has just overtaken it) and there is plenty of other architectural bling- the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is also a sight to behold.
The weather has been fairly mild so far- I am spoilt by an air-conditioned apartment- however before I came the air-conditioned temperature was hovering around 30 degrees which wouldn't have been so good!
Having said that, we are currently catching the edge of the typhoon that's threatening Shanghai- it's raining and there's strong winds- just like Wellington really. Everyone is off work though and apparently we can't go outside in case we get maimed by a falling air-conditioner!
We're heading to Cambodia (via Singapore) tomorrow for 10 days, so there's going to be another long gap between posts... but I should have plenty of interesting stories to tell by then!
Check out more photos at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=53553&l=cdd3c&id=604040105